The Government can't afford to have proper Armed Forces 'cos of shit like this: Civil servants are used to dealing with red tape - but a group are now having to adjust to black tape to show them where to put things on their desks. National Insurance staff in Longbenton, North Tyneside, are taking part in a pilot scheme on desk management. It is part of the Lean programme brought in by consultants Unipart, which has already seen public sector workers told to clear their desks of personal items. HM Revenue & Customs declined to say how much Unipart was paid, claiming it was a commercial matter. But a spokesman for the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) claimed it was costing Â£7.4m nationally. He said: "The scheme is demoralising and demeaning. Staff know how to order their desks themselves. "We had a situation in some offices in Scotland where staff were asked 'Is that banana on your desk active or inactive?', meaning were they going to eat it? If not, it had to be cleared away." PCS branch secretary Kevin McHugh said some staff at Longbenton share the same desk, and have to rearrange their workspace, regardless of the tape. "If the person coming in after you has longer arms, he will have to move the markers," he said. "This office has been open for 60 years and people have managed to find their pens and staplers without consultants helping them in that time." A HMRC spokeswoman said: "It's only right that those staff who now share desk space with their colleagues are given advice and support in deciding how to make the most efficient use of the space available to them whilst taking into account the needs of their colleagues. "Staff can still move the things on their desk to positions that suit them best. "Lean is all about how we can work more efficiently to deliver an even better service to our customers, providing support and appropriate levels of management to busy staff whilst providing real value for money to the taxpayer." From Sky News Real value for money to the taxpayer! Ha!